In an attempt to increase U.S. beer sales and to find foods and beverages that can be exported to Japan, Asahi Breweries Ltd. of Tokyo has formed its first U.S. subsidiary, Asahi Breweries U.S.A. Inc., which will open headquarters in Los Angeles in March.
Capitalized with an initial investment of $900,000, Asahi Breweries U.S.A. expects to increase current annual U.S. sales of 220,000 cases of beer to annual sales of 1 million cases by 1990. Total sales of Japanese beer brands in the United States last year amounted to 2.5 million cases, only 0.1% of all U.S. beer sales and 2% of all imports.
Nozomu Okumura, president of the new U.S. unit, said Asahi U.S.A. will also look for U.S. food and beverage concepts that are appealing for export to Japan.
In one of the first such U.S.-Japan efforts, Asahi set up a joint venture in 1973 with Pizza Hut Inc. to open more than 30 locations in Japan.
In August, 1986, Asahi began manufacturing and distributing Steve's Ice Cream in Japan, and in early 1987, the company entered into a similar arrangement to manufacture and sell Coors beer in Japan. Asahi U.S.A. will research similar opportunities with other American companies.